Each September the leaves start to turn a potpourri of gold, brown, and red, the kids head back to school, and Nelson has to pay his car insurance bill. Oh, and you slackers take an extra day off even though most of you don’t deserve it.
When I first got my car, the insurance bill more painful than that time a baby accidentally stepped on my balls. I was shelling out more than $2000 per year, even though my car wasn’t getting me laid on the reg. What’s the point of having a car if to not impress the ladies? I still can’t think of a single reason.
(Y’all scoff at my logic there, but every high school boy in the world has fallen victim to it at some point. Man, high school boys are dumbasses. And yet we expect them to make smart choices about college?)
Over the years as I got more experience and
drove away from multiple accidents maintained my perfect driving record, the rate has plummeted. I also switched providers about 3 years in, which saved me about $500 per year.
And that’s about it. I’m still with that same provider from about six years ago. I haven’t shopped my policy or adjusted my deductible or anything like that, with the exception of dropping comprehensive insurance about 4 years ago.
So how am I paying $398 per year?
So simple it hurts
At least, I assume it’s the simplicity that hurts. Like hell I’m going to see a doctor. Those quacks kill more people than they save.
In 2006 I bought a 2002 car, a Ford Focus. Even though it’s pissed me off a bit over the years, it’s now almost 2016 and I still own said car. Because it’s worth all of $3,000 (on a good day, if I find a gullible high school kid), I can afford to run without comprehensive insurance, since buying another $3,000 car is pretty easy. I’d be without a car for a better part of a day and that’s it.
Yeah, it’s had its fair share of things go wrong over the years. It still hates the cold weather, needing to be plugged in at any temperature under about -15. It’ll need a new fuel pump soon, and the shocks are starting to go at least on the front end. And according to at least one lady I regularly drive around, it’s not terribly attractive, it doesn’t accelerate fast enough, and it shakes worse than someone having a seizure. New tires helped with that last thing.
It’s not perfect, by any means. I don’t have an in-dash entertainment system like you probably have. There’s no sensor to warn me if somebody is beside me. And there’s no way I’m impressing anyone when I pull up. And that’s not even to mention the multitude of different little things that no longer work, like the one back window. Hey, at least I fixed the air conditioning.
But it still gets me from point A to point B, probably in the same amount of time that a much nicer car would. Instead of it being 99.9% dependable, it’s more like 98% dependable. Still, it’s not like I spend any time stranded on the side of the road.
The solution is simple. If you want to pay nothing for car insurance, drive a crummy car.
But will you?
I touched on this a little while ago, when I said that most people buy new cars because of vanity. I am convinced that it’s a big reason for buying something new, even if the model is something your peers wouldn’t normally associate with vanity. It’s very possible to look at a new Toyota Camry with as much pride as the next guy might feel for his Chevy Camaro.
Look, I know that when it comes to cars, I’m preaching to deaf ears. I’m not going to convince anybody that my method is the best. Just look at the comments on that post I linked to. People get hell-bent on popular models, look at the used market for them, and get convinced that there’s no alternative. I talk a lot about how we’re not rational when it comes to finance. If you need an example, just look at people buying cars.
But what I will say is this. I’m all about accomplishing things with the lowest-cost outlay as possible. By hanging onto my car for all these years and not driving a hell of a lot, I’ve managed to get my total cost of ownership down to less than $100 per month. I’m easily putting hundreds of dollars in my pocket even compared to someone who paid cash in the first place.
I don’t want you to become one of those guys who has a car and then bikes everywhere. That sort of takes away the whole purpose of having a car in the first place, and biking in the Canadian winter just sucks. All I encourage is for you to always keep an eye open to keep your costs low, no matter what you do. Driving an older car is a really easy way to do just that.